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Josh Hamilton: 'It's about the team'

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Prior to the eighth inning of Friday's season-opening 3-2 win over the White Sox, Craig Gentry went up to Josh Hamilton and asked him if he was staying in center field.

"He said yes, but then asked me where I was most comfortable," Gentry said. "I told him I hadn't played much left field. I was honest with him. But it was up to him."

Hamilton didn't hesitate. He told Gentry he should play center and Hamilton would move to left field. The 2010 AL MVP then talked to manager Ron Washington, asking if it was OK with the skipper if the move was made. Washington smiled.

"I said, 'Thanks, Hamilton. I love you,'" Washington said. "I wasn't going to move Hamilton out of center field. I'm glad he made the decision; he and Gentry."

Washington said he didn't consider going against their recommendation.

"I'm not going to overrule my players when they think something is best," Washington said. "They thought that was best. I love them for it."

Some managers wouldn't have dreamed of letting players make that kind of call. But Washington has worked five seasons now to instill the mentality that it's all about the team. And now his team is doing that on its own.

"He's our leader and we follow him," Hamilton said. "He preaches that we do the little things to win games, and we've gotten better each year doing that. We win as a team, and everybody knows that."

For Hamilton, the bottom line was he felt it was important that Gentry -- and anyone coming into the game like that -- feel completely comfortable in the position they're asked to play.

"It's not that he can't play left, but he feels better at center," Hamilton said. "We're a team. I was fine playing either one, so I told him he should play center. We play for each other on this team. That's what makes this such a fun team and a good team."

Gentry said he was thankful that Hamilton asked him and when he did, he felt he should be honest.

"He didn't have to do that," Gentry said.